Saturday, 16 April 2011

Tring Reservoirs and Pitstone

I woke up yesterday at 5:30 to get ready for another birding day trip to Tring Reservoirs.  The day started with 1 Swallow flying over the house as I was sorting the bikes out and whilst we cycled through the small green at the end of Rockcliffe Ave I heard 1 Blackcap and 1 Green Woodpecker bounded away from us.  At our (my brother and I) arrival at Marsworth Reservoir the weather seemed to be getting better, there were a large number of clouds but there didn't seem to be much chance for rain.  From the far eastern corner of the Reservoir we saw 2 Bullfinches (1♂,1♀), 2 Reed Warblers were heard, 1 Great Crested Grebe swam past, 1 Song Thrush and astonishingly an extremely late winter visitor that my brother found 1 Redwing!  There were plenty more birds including 1 juv. Grey Heron, 1 Lapwing flew briefly over, 4 Common terns were fishing (my first of the year), and so were 2 Sedge Warblers that were in the reeds singing and doing occasional song flights.

Sedge Warbler

female Reed Bunting

male Chaffinch


As we arrived at Wilstone Reservoir we already fond a great deal of birds in the fields to the east of the reservoir including 1♂ Yellowhammer, 2 Red Kites, 3 Common Terns (traveling towards Marswoth and Startop's End Reservoir) and 2 Grey Herons.  Ay Wilstone Reservoir itself we encountered a far more including 2♂ Blackcaps singing in the hedgerows (+ many more heard but not seen), dozens of singing Chiffchaffs and on our arrival at the jetty there was 1 Pied Wagtail and c.20 Common Terns.  I also heard 1 Little Grebe but did not see it throughout the day.

Pied Wagtail

displaying Coot


Little Egret

Greylag Geese

We also checked out the Horse Fields North of the Reservoir for Yellow Wagtails but the was little there except 2 Mistle Thrushes and 1 Swallow.  Back on the Reservoir again there were 3 Lapwing, 3♂ Shoveler, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Green Woodpecker (heard only), 2 Buzzards and 2♂ Wigeon were lingering around in the willows to the right of the hide.  Another birder in the hide picked up on 1 Common Sandpiper that was feeding and hopping across the green hay bails that were lying in the water and by the time we left there were at least 42 Common Tern.  On our return past Startop's End Reservoir there was 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker and I saw my first 3 House Martins of the year, at least 20+ Sand Martins and 1 Swallow amongst them.  We then visited a fourth site, College Lake, which also had some good waders about including 5 Redshank, 1 Oystercatcher, 1 Snipe, and at least 3 nesting Lapwing (with a total of 9 individuals counted).  On the water there was 1 pair of Shelduck.  Our last visit of the day was to Pitstone Hill which we approached via the quarry pathway were my brother pointed out 1♂ Sparrowhawk and 2 Chiffchaffs.  From the Hill we had great views of all the Reservoirs and Lakes that we had visited during the day.  It was a great way to end the day with dozens of Skylarks singing around us occasional fly past Meadow Pipits and 1 Red Kite.  From the Hill we could look down onto the quarry to see 2 Stock Doves and 1 Lapwing.  In all and as always it was a great days birding at Tring.



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